Blog Archives

Excerpt & Giveaway: Glaze by Kim Curran

First, a note. This post was actually supposed to go up last Thursday, and so is a week late. For that, my apologies to author Kim Curran and to Faye at A Daydreamer’s Thoughts who put the whole book tour together for Glaze. I haven’t been punctual about guest posts of late, and I do have quite a back log of things that need to get done. Something I’m working on correcting!

Second, having read the premise of Glaze and having followed up on all the excerpts that have been posted in various places as part of this book tour, I’m very excited about the novel. I haven’t read anything by Kim as yet, though I do have copies of her two YA novels from Strange Chemistry that I need to get through, but reading these excerpts, I’m sure that the books are gonna be great. Strange Chemistry has had a fairly good track record since their launch, as far as I’m concerned, and Kim seems to be one of their top authors and Glaze has been getting a lot of good publicity. Hopefully I will be reading it soon. In the meantime, enjoy the excerpt below.

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The Serpent Tower by William King (Book Review)

It wasn’t until 2010 that I found out that one of my favourite Black Library authors, William King, had been on an extended sabbatical from writing anything for the publisher, and that he had spent time working on and developing his own original series, The Terrarch Chronicles. And it wasn’t until 2012 that I finally read the first book in the series, Death’s Angels. It was a pretty damn good and fun fantasy romp, doing a new take on the typical elf-human relationships within epic fantasy. And it was packed with all the typical William King fun that you’d expect, which was a huge bonus.

However, it wasn’t until January this year that I got around to reading the sequel, The Serpent Tower. And reading the novel made me realise just what it was that I was missing. Because the second novel is every bit as good as the first. In fact, it is quite a bit better! It avoids all the typical “mistakes” of a second novel, the so-called “sophomore slump”, and it is a fun and enjoyable novel to read from start to finish. It also helps that Bill significantly ups the ante, and explores more of this world that he built up in Death’s Angels, and showed a much more awe-inspiring side of it.

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Monster Academy: I Will Not Eat People (Book Review)

Matt Forbeck, one of my favourite SFF authors, has a new book releasing today. I Will Not Eat People is the first book in his Monster Academy trilogy of young adult novels which he has written as part of his 12-for-12 writing program. It was his writing challenge for 2012, where he did four kickstarters, one for each trilogy, and was to write a book for each month of the year. Due to delays, some outside his control, he wasn’t able to complete the challenge in the same year, but now the overall project is finally seeing its completion. Monster Academy is the fourth trilogy, and it is off to a great start.

I’ve enjoyed all of Matt’s work that I’ve read to date, some thirteen or so novels at the least, and with each book he has impressed me even more. I find the idea of Monster Academy really fun and seeing the execution of it last month was really fun. The humour is always front and center with this book, but that’s not all of course, and just as with the previous trilogies Dangerous Games and Shotguns & Sorcery there is a strong sense of a murder investigation here, which is thrilling.

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NANP: Naming The Knights

Today’s guest on the blog for Names: A New Perspective is Freya Robertson, another new author with Angry Robot. She has published several romance novels previously and her Elemental Wars series marks her big fantasy debut. The first novel in the series, Heartwood, came out last year in November and the sequel Sunstone is due soon as well. I’m really excited for this series since it plays up some tropes of the genre that I like, such as the mystical order of knights and the quest feel of the narrative. I’ll hopefully be checking it out quite soon and the sequel as well. In the meantime, here’s what Freya has to say on the topic of names.

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NANP: The Scent of Names

Joining me on the blog for the first Names: A New Perspective post of January (and the new year!) is Mhairi Simpson, who has been self-publishing some of her work and has also had some of her short stories published traditionally through a small press. She’s also a fellow blogger and a good friend so I’m really excited to have her on the blog today. I’ve only read one of her stories, in the Tales of the Nun & Dragon anthology (review), but I have some of her other work backlogged and I’ll be moving through it quite soon. Its great to see so many of my blogger friends get their own fiction out, through various means, and what’s great is that everyone seems to be doing something different and breaking conventions left and right. Great time to be a reader! Anyways, here’s what Mhairi has to say on the topic of names.

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NANP: Method To Madness

On Thanksgiving Day I bring to you Kenny Soward, the author of the GnomeSaga series and a regular short fiction writer, for the latest on Names: A New Perspective. I haven’t had a chance to read his work yet, the first GnomeSaga novel Rough Magic still awaits me on my iPad, but he’s certainly one of the more interesting authors I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Kenny is also a fellow contributor to the Manifesto: UF, which saw the publication of my short story Dharmayoddha and his story Gold Dust Woman was a stand-out story. Hopefully after reading this post you’ll be interested in his work as well. I certainly encourage you to check it out at least.

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Publishing and Marketing 03: Women in SFF Part 1

One question that is being asked by many in the wake of the recent SFWA controversy, and all the commentary it has spawned in various places about misogyny and sexism within the publishing industry is: “If I want to read more books by female authors, where do I start?”

Often times, I think it is rather disheartening to hear such a question. Women have been writing books for a long, long time. And for people to not even be aware of that, or for that matter, be able to perform a basic google search about who are the big names right now? Doesn’t speak so well for us as a community. Speaking of the industry in the broadest sense, we are all very close-ranked, and to break out of the apparent restrictions is not easy. Sure its “easy” to get published as a woman, but to receive recognition? That’s an uphill battle.

It all comes down to respect. And when it comes to respect within the publishing industry (or even just in general in daily life), never ever use the word “political correctness”. That’s a dirty word to use, and it betrays a lack of ability to engage, and wilful dismissal of a very serious and ongoing issue that affects us all. Just look at the entire entertainment industry as a whole, whether its novels or comics or movies or even news.

In such a state, it is absolutely essential that we willingly look to broaden our horizons. We should take chances and read outside of our comfort zones, because otherwise we don’t challenge ourselves and we just propagate the “like begets like” scenario and we cannot grow as an individual.

Which is what this editorial, the third in my Publishing and Marketing series, is about: stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’ve never read a book by a female author before, then my suggestions herein are an excellent place to start.

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NANP: Good Names, Bad Names

Today’s guest on the blog for Names: A New Perspective is Patrick Hester, who hosts the Hugo Award-winning SF Signal Podcast, along with The Functional Nerd Podcast, has self-published a few stories so far, and has also featured in an anthology. Suffice to say, Patrick is one of the busiest bloggers and authors that I know of, given all his various interests. Like some of the previous guests on the blog, I haven’t had the chance to read some of his work as yet, but I do have a copy of one of his recent books, Cahill’s Homecoming, so that should be getting sometime soon. In the meantime, here’s what Patrick has to say on the subject of names.

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June Reading List Poll

In January and February, I ran two highly successful polls where I asked all the readers of the blog to help me pick my reading list for the following months. The first one was for novels, the second one for comics. I managed to meet the reading goals for the first of those polls, but am still progressing through the second one, mostly because I’ve been traveling a bit too much of late, and reading time has generally been at a premium due to work and more time devoted to my writing.

However, I should be done with it by the end of this month, so keep an eye out for updates on that.

In the meantime, here’s my next reading poll, and this one is for novels once again. Hit the break to find out more.

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NANP: The Madness of Names

Stopping by the blog today for Names: A New Perspective is John C. Scott, self-publisher extraordinaire and the author of The Legend of Adam Caine and Recon One-Five among others. John is a really involved author from everything I’ve seen and the level of his writing output is crazy high. If I could write half as fast, I’d have at least a novel published this year! I haven’t had a chance to read any of his Adam Caine novels as yet, but they are certainly on the cards, especially after reading his guest post, wherein he talks a bit about his naming conventions. Here you go.

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NANP: Names And Practicalities

I don’t think it’s really possible for me to be any more excited than I already am at welcoming author and game designer Matt Forbeck to Names: A New Perspective. Starting with his historical horror Titanic/Vampires mash-up Carpathia last year (review) to his TV tie-in Leverage: The Con Job (review) this year, Matt’s been one of those authors that I’ve really enjoyed reading. Whether it’s comics or novels, he’s been one of the most consistent authors for me, evidenced by the fact that his work has made my monthly top reads lists several times since January 2012 (here and here). He has several releases coming up this year, such as the second and third installments of his fantasy noir Shotguns & Sorcery trilogy (more on this here), as well as the fourth 12-for-12 trilogy Monster Academy, plus some secret project and a kickstarter he mentioned a few days ago. So the year looks great for him! Here’s what Matt has to say on the topic of names.

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Best of the Best Part 2

I last did something like this in July for the six months from January 1st all the way to June 30th. This list is for July 1st and all the way through to December 30th (the last day doesn’t count!). As I mentioned at the end of that list, this isn’t going to be regurgitation of my “Reading Awards” page, but something more varied. The list takes into account everything I’ve read in the last six months.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

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